Former K-State football star Lawrence joins Swedes' coaching staff

By Steve Sell
July 17, 2014

LINDSBORG — Bethany College football coach Manny Matsakis continues to add former Kansas State star power to his high-profile staff.

Matsakis, who earlier added former KSU standout defensive back Joe Gordon as defensive coordinator, this week announced that former Wildcat star running back Mike Lawrence is now a Swede assistant as he’s the new special teams coordinator and receivers coach.

"We are very excited to bring coach Lawrence on board to coach receivers and coordinate our special teams," Matsakis said in a press release. "Mike brings tremendous knowledge, enthusiasm and work ethic to our program."

Lawrence had been serving as head coach at Wiregrass High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla. When he took over, the program had lost 23 straight games, but in time he elevated it to a 4-6 record last season. Eleven of his players are continuing their careers at the collegiate level.  He also had seven players make the All-Pasco County Conference team.  He has been coaching high school and arena football for the last 10 years. 

Lawrence received his bachelor's degree in social studies from Kansas State in 1997. He spent the 1999 season playing arena football for the Topeka Knights. He then played in NFL Europe in 2002, the GFL 2002-2005, and went back to the arena circuit from 2006–2011, where he won two championships, one as a player and the other as a player-coach.

Lawrence is expected to bring energy and passion to the Bethany program, along with experience from his playing days under Bill Snyder and Matsakis, who served two stints under Snyder as an assistant.

 Lawrence had a decorated playing career at Kansas State. In his sophomore season in 1994, he split time with fellow running back Eric Hickson, and they became the first two backs to rush for 100 yards in the same game multiple times.  In 1996, Lawrence earned All-Conference honors after rushing for more than 1,000 yards and helping Kansas State to its first New Year's Day bowl game. He ended his career as Kansas State’s all-time leading rusher.

He is a native of Miami, Fla.